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Can You Really Live in a Hangar Like a Maverick in Top Gun ?

If you, like many others, were drawn to the summer 2022 blockbuster Top Gun: Maverick , and you are a family fan like us, you may have noticed A really cool detail. Tom Cruise’s Maverick lives in the airplane lover’s dream home: a hangar where he still keeps his vintage World War II planes. (Fun fact: the P-51 Mustang actually belonged to Cruise, who got his pilot’s license after filming the original Top Gun in 1986.)

But is it really possible to live in a hangar? Yes – but with some caveats.

“The challenges of building live working hangars all stem from local zoning codes,” said architect

James McGarry,

designed an on-site working hangar called the Banman Hangar in Ventura County, California. Because that project was attached to a small private airport in the suburbs, local zoning laws worked in his favor.

bangar hangarbangar hangar bangar hangar Field work machine called Bangar Hangar designed by architect James McGarry library residence.
Ted Temple

An even bigger hurdle is the regulations governing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). “Federally funded and regulated airports don’t allow hangars to be residential,” McGarry said. Given that over 1,000 airports are receiving FAA funding in 2022, this eliminates a lot of opportunities to build hangars.

FAA’s official policy regarding non-aviation hangar use

, however, includes some residential exceptions. It’s worth noting that remote airports may have “airport residences for dedicated airport managers, watch officers or airport operations personnel”.

Then there is this gray area in policy: “The FAA distinguishes between typical pilot rest facilities or crew quarters versus hangar accommodation or hangar homes. The former are intended for crew overnight and/or rest periods, not permanent or even temporary accommodation.”

So, technically, a pull-out sofa, mini-fridge, and TV might be acceptable under FAA regulations. Some anecdotal evidence suggests that some pilots may observe the line between residential and rest facilities in their hangars, but if you pardon the pun, they are likely to fly under the radar to avoid unwanted attention and investigation FAA.

” It’s like if you were a professional surfer, you could buy a house On your favorite beach.”

Luckily for wannabe Mavericks, there’s a perfectly legal way to live in a hangar — and it’s a popular one. There are hundreds of residential airports or flying communities across the United States designed for pilots who want to fly with ease. Some homes in these communities have built-in hangars, while others have stand-alone hangars on their property. But the most important factor is that each of these airports has a runway, which gives pilots almost unlimited access to the skies.

“Community – they drive around in golf carts , they talk about airplanes. On weekends, planes take off and land. These guys love the lifestyle,” says aviation real estate expert Erik McCormick

, He runs many businesses that revolve around the airport. “It’s like if you were a pro surfer, you could buy a house on your favorite beach.”

Some of these airports are small with just two houses and a gravel runway, while others have dozens or even hundreds of houses and world-class aviation facilities. Florida’s Spruce Creek, for example, has more than 1,300 homes (though not all of them are actual hangar homes), a private paved runway; its own golf course, tennis courts, and pickleball courts; Join the social club.

Headshot of Stefanie Waldekbangar hangarHeadshot of Stefanie Waldek bangar hangar Exterior of Bangar Hangar, designed by architect James McGarry.

Ted Temple

LIVE Pricing – Homes in hangars vary widely. Scroll through some of the listings in McCormick’s

Aviation Real Estate Digital Magazine

and you can find a 3,600 sq. ft. a hangar with a bed in it, a one-bath apartment listed at $3,450 a month, and a three-bedroom, six-bath estate in Colorado for a stand-alone 3,233-square-foot hangar for $5.5 million. Price is usually not an issue for most hangar home buyers. “Often it’s their second or third or fifth home and they just buy it,” McCormick said.

Although for hangar buyers , actually owning an aircraft and being able to fly it makes the most sense, but non-pilot diehard Top Gun fans can live out their best Maverick dreams too.

bangar hangar
bangar hangar Stephanie Waldeck

Contributing Writer

Stefanie Waldek is a Brooklyn-based writer covering architecture, design and travel. She has worked for Architectural Digest, ARTnews, and Oyster.com, a TripAdvisor company, and has written for Condé Nast Traveler, The Washington Post

Design Milk and Hunker et al. When she’s not dreaming of mid-century chairs, you can find her re-watching the X-Files, probably in an airport lounge or on a plane.

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